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Grain silos still at risk as farm clean up begins

More than 40 grain silos have toppled and split spewing their contents following Saturday morning's Canterbury's magnitude 7.1 quake and more are at risk.Federated Farmers grains and seeds chairman in North Canterbury Murray Rowlands said some silos fille

Liam Baldwin
Mon, 06 Sep 2010

More than 40 grain silos have toppled and split spewing their contents following Saturday morning’s Canterbury’s magnitude 7.1 quake and more are at risk.

Federated Farmers grains and seeds chairman in North Canterbury Murray Rowlands said some silos filled with food-grade wheat weighed up to 130 tonnes.

“When the ground shifts five metres, I don’t care how strong the legs are, it’s going to come down,” he said.

As a result, he said thousands of tonnes of food-grade grain was spilt and required a fast response to save.

“Because it’s food grade we couldn’t just go in there with a loader because we’d put dirt all through it. We had to get special grain vacs in, which we’ve done and saved about 95% of it.”

Mr Rowlands said rain last night destroyed what was left.

Offers from less affected farms around the region provided 8500 tonnes of storage space, with more offers coming in.

Mr Rowlands said more pressing now was working with another 30 silos that had fallen or started to fall but not split.

“The problem we’ve got at the moment is that every time there is another tremor they go over a little more. We’re got rain forecast now and once the ground gets muddy, they will go over,” he said.

“It’s a pretty precarious situation.”

Another developing problem was the realisation that unless silos were specifically insured, general insurance didn’t cover them.

“A lot of these guys might not be aware of that so we asking people to talk to their insurance companies and for the companies to talk to their clients.”

Mr Rowlands said cheaper silos would cost about $15,000 to replace, escalating from there. However, that did not include the cost of destroyed crops.

Liam Baldwin
Mon, 06 Sep 2010
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Grain silos still at risk as farm clean up begins
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